Make your own natural air freshener spray with simple, non-toxic ingredients. A much safer alternative to the harmful chemicals found in regular air fresheners!
Fresh Linen. Country Apple. Cinnamon Delight.
Sound familiar? These are, of course, a few of the names for the so called “refreshing” and “aromatic” scents that greet your senses as you make your way down the air freshener aisle at the store.
And depending on your sensitivities, you’re either strolling along slowly, taking in all the wonderful scents, and deciding which new scent will soon grace the air in your beautiful home.
…or you’re sprinting down the aisle at lightning speed, because all you need is a pack of toilet paper…which happens to be right across from the air freshener section…which you try to avoid like the plague, because “OMG, why are these smells so darn strong and overpowering?!?”
Once upon a time, I was in the first group. But over time, I’ve unintentionally (though very graciously) made my way over to the second group. And if you’re reading a post like this on a blog such as this one, my guess is you’ll be joining me in that second group very soon – that’s if you’re not already there. 😉
Because once I learned about the harmful effects of these artificial fragrances and air fresheners – about what they’re doing to our bodies and the precious air we breathe – I ditched them for good.
But there was one problem: I actually liked having a pleasant, comforting scent in my home. I just didn’t want those toxic chemicals floating around in the air we breathed – especially my young children.
For a while, I thought I was just stuck with a plain, boring, unexciting smell in the house (or the smell of the last meal I cooked!). I tried to accept the idea that a non-toxic home was a completely scent-free home (and for some, it has to be), but I just couldn’t do it. I knew there had to be a way. And so began my search for a natural air freshener spray.
Thankfully, there are ways to naturally, safely, and effectively freshen the air in our homes without resorting to allergy-inducing or cancer-causing chemicals.
How to Make a Natural Air Freshener Spray
DIY Air Freshener Spray
Ditch the toxic air fresheners, and make a DIY air freshener spray with a natural ingredients.
- 1 tablespoon witch hazel ((or rubbing alcohol / surgical spirits))
- 30 drops essential oil
- 1/2 cup distilled water ((distilled is best, but filtered tap water is fine for short term storage))
- 4oz fine-mist spray bottle
- Add witch hazel or rubbing alcohol to the spray bottle.
- Add your essential oils of choice.
- Swirl the bottle about 10 times to combine oils with witch hazel.
- Top off with water, leaving a little room at the top for shaking.
- Shake well, and spray into the air.
Distilled water is purified of all impurities, so it will last longer. You can also use filtered tap water, but if it starts to smell “off” then just toss it and make a new batch.
Do not spray directly on fabrics. Use caution around children, pets, and pregnant women.
Use this natural air freshener spray like you would with any store bought spray – just a few sprays into the air. I like to keep a bottle in each bathroom, and then another in the living room/entryway for a quick freshening up when needed.
The witch hazel or alcohol serves two purposes: it helps mix the essential oils into the solution (because oil and water don’t mix), and it disperses the mixture into the air and helps it evaporate more quickly.
My two favorite scents that work pretty much anywhere are orange (sweet, energizing, uplifting) and lavender (floral, calming, relaxing). Use them separately or together, or in combination with other oils like vanilla, peppermint, rosemary, clove, etc.
A few precautions
- Do not spray this directly on fabrics, as the oils may leave spots on your clothes or furniture.
- As with all products containing essential oils, use caution around children, pets, and pregnant women.
Where can you buy essential oils?
If you’re new to essential oils, a good brand to start with is NOW Foods. Most health food stores carry NOW oils, but I usually get them at Amazon.com. I also love Plant Therapy oils, which you can buy from Amazon.com or their website.
Can you make this without the essential oils?
YES! You can actually skip the witch hazel and the essential oils, and just use some pure extracts like vanilla, orange, or lemon – as long as they’ve been extracted with an alcohol (as opposed to a non-alcoholic extract which uses glycerin). Make sure you’re using an organic extract like this one from Simply Organic, which has no additives – just vanilla and alcohol.
A good base recipe for this is 4oz (distilled) water + 2 tablespoons vanilla extract.
Good news – we CAN have a naturally-scented home without exposing ourselves to the harsh chemicals in conventional air fresheners.
And as for that sprint down the aisle to grab the toilet paper before the fragrances attack our senses…let’s just file that under our weekly workout routine. 😉
Thank you so much for this. When making your air freshener does it need to be in a dark glass bottle or is dark plastic ok?
Dark plastic is ok. I like to use PET plastic because it’s safer and doesn’t affect the oils.
Can I use coconut oil for the ingredient? That’s the only essential oil available at my place. I want to make it for my parents
No, coconut oil is not an essential oil. Essential oils are distilled from plants, so they’re very fragrant, concentrated, and contain the natural therapeutic properties of the plant.
Is it okay if we are using this air freshener for daily purpose?
Because, by spraying this our home will get freshened up with a pleasant fragrance.
Yep, nothing wrong with that. 🙂
I would like to use my fresh lavender flowers that I grow in my garden for air freshener. Any suggestions?
Hey Mary, there are a couple good ideas here in this post for using fresh flowers. Hope that helps!
Lots of interested info here Sarah! Thank u for sharing! (: Ann
You’re very welcome, Ann! Glad you found it helpful. 🙂
hello! wonderful recipe and I want to make the spray without using essential oils by just using the pure vanilla extract. If I do the vanilla extract, do i have to add anything else? Or do I just put the vanilla extract in the spray bottle? Also, can you put a link for the spray bottle for this air freshener? I love the one you have in the picture! THANK YOU
Hey Cynthia, sorry it wasn’t clear at all in the post, so I’m updating it. But you would actually use some water ( distilled is best for long storage, or just filtered water is fine in the mean time). About 4 oz water + 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract. And then shake well before using. Oh and the spray bottle is from here.
thanks for this great info. i will be making this up today.
Love the recipe however, you’re not supposed to use isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) as it’s toxic and isnt actually the same as drinking alcohol. Vodka is a better use I’ve read.
I’m glad you are here.
And I’m glad you’re here too, Brenda! 🙂
I have used a quarter cup of any cheap vodka, 10 drops of essential oil, and fill rest of regular sized spray bottle with water. This does a good job in bathrooms. I find that we have a strange idea about odours – I don’t mean bathroom odours but kitchen ones. Back in the day the odours from food was considered good! In the old movies you see people coming into the home and noticing the good smells from Mum in the kitchen cooking dinner. But now we think food smells are bad!! I know people who will never eat bacon because they think it smells up the house! That’s pretty sad. As well, most of food odours from frying, for example, can be eliminated by wiping any fat in pan and soaking in hot water with any natural soap – like dish soap from soap nuts – and wiping the stove down with vinegar.
Great tips, Barbara! I agree, nowadays, smells from home cooked meals are too strong for some people, and yet it’s totally acceptable to spray all kinds of artificial scents in the air. Kind of ironic!
Can I use Bore hole water instead of Tap water?
I’m not familiar with bore hole water, but if it’s comparable to tap water, then it should be fine for short term use/storage. I personally prefer distilled water as it’s purified and lasts for a long time.
One can actually use water coming out from air conditioner. It is purified water. Thanks.
Hello Sarah, thanks for this information. My concern is how long does this air freshener last? And can I make such homemade fresheners for a leaving since I don’t have a job and I need something that can help me raise some money for my self. Please advice more and what are the basic tips. Thanks a lot.
This recipe is meant to be made in small batches for personal use. I’m sorry but I can’t advise on producing it for resale as there is a lot involved with regards to safety and liability issues.
Whats the best essential oil that would be good for strong orders and pet orders andike cat urine n lirrte box orders and helps get out bacteria out of air in home too
I’m not sure on specific oils, but my go to for essential oils is Plant Therapy. You can check out some of their diffuser blends, and they have a handy guide on which oils are safe to use around pets (but I would double check about oils specifically safe for cats).
Last Christmas, I bought some peppermint scented hand soap, and my Mom recently commented that she’d like some air freshener with that scent. Found your recipe, so now I can make some for her. Thank you!
That’s wonderful, Kristy! Hope she loved it!
Can I use Fragrance oil instead of Essential oils?
You could, but I would strongly advise against it if you’re trying to avoid toxic chemicals in your end product.
Hello, Sarah! I used to be in the first group too, and am now in the second 😂. I relate to everything you said! I have been boiling essential oils in a pot as the only source of providing a pleasant scent for the home and would love to have a non-toxic spray. Thank you for having this recipe available!
Can I use hydrogen peroxide instead of alcohol or witch hazel? Would that be safer for fabrics since the hydrogen peroxide is diluted?
Haha, welcome! I’m not sure the peroxide would carry the scent as well. But you could certainly try it, since it wouldn’t be harmful. You would have to spot test though because of it’s bleaching effects.
i was completely unaware of how toxic the plug ins, the scented wax, the spray scents were, till my cat had a serious breathing problem, i ended up losing him! i don’t know for sure if it was related, but after the initial shock of losing him, i went online to get info on cats with asthma etc i was so shocked yet it made sense, i bought on of those bottles of scent with the reeds in it, and after 10 min i had to get it out of my apt i couldn’t breathe and it irritated my eyes.. since the info, i have pulled out my plug ins, i only use them in our outside hallway. and i thought, i got rid of te scented wax, but could i just put a little distilled water and a few drops of extract like peppermint ? i haven’t tried it yet but i think it would certainly be better than what i had been doing. it was a very painfull lesson, though the vet felt it was his age and they can develop these problems over time, and i did the humane thing, but it didn’t feel humane to me, i haven’t gotten over it yet!! i want to adopt a rescue kitty and i want the safest environment for him.
Oh Meredythe, I’m so sorry for your loss. I love that you’ve taken that painful lesson and using it to help you move forward to create the best environment for a new rescue kitty! Yes, you could add some pure essential oils to distilled water and heat it on a low flame to make a scent, but you could also use an electronic diffuser which basically does the same thing, but without the heat.
HOWEVER, please note that essential oils are generally not regarded as safe to be used around cats, specifically. The reason being that they lack a specific enzyme in their liver so they are unable to properly metabolize the compounds in oils. If you choose to use essential oils in your home, make sure they are used away from your cats. For example, if you’re diffusing oils or using the heating method you mentioned, do it in a room with the door closed so your cat cannot enter.
Air fresheners made with pure essential oils, like the ones I recommend from Grow Fragrance (affiliate link), are safe to use around pets because the oils don’t linger in the air for an extended period of time.
But with a diffuser, the oils are literally broken down into micro molecules before being projected into the air, so they are far easier to ingest through the respiratory passages, and they linger in the air for much longer.
So to make this very long comment a little shorter, I would caution against using essential oils in homemade products around your new kitty. The best recommendation for scenting your home with something that’s safe for kitty is a non-toxic air freshener or candle from a company that is 100% transparent with their ingredients, which is why I can’t stop singing the praises of Grow Fragrance.